Seed to Feed: The Herbalife Manufacturing Success Story – Part Two
By Rich Goudis, Chief Operating Officer, Herbalife
May 25, 2016, 4:51 PM
Recently, at the annual Herbalife leadership conference in Cancun, Mexico, I had the pleasure of sharing with our team, including Company executives, Herbalife independent members and board of director members, the progress we’ve made with our Seed to Feed initiative. Here’s Part One of the story.
So, when we talk about quality testing, what does that mean? When we bring ingredients into the Company, we test all raw materials for identity, for purity, for certain impurities such as heavy metals, and always for microbiological activity. Our testing continues throughout the entire manufacturing process. After each blend, we sample and test product. After we finish the product, we test again for label claims. For example, every time we produce a batch of Herbalife® Formula 1 Nutrition Shake Mix, we run 380 tests; 470 tests every time we make Herbalife® Formula 2 Multivitamin Complex; and when we make tea, we conduct 120 individual tests. If one of those tests fails, we place the product on hold. This oversight of our products continues through what we call our ‘post-market surveillance program.’
We believe that our post-market surveillance program is the most robust and encompassing in the industry. This program comes to life at our quality control Center of Excellence labs in Torrance, California, and in Changsha, China, where our highly skilled scientists test every lot of every product that is sold in the world, at least twice a year, for label claims and, for our high velocity, high moving product lines, four to five times a year. Additionally, we maintain a global database of all product complaints and report all serious adverse events to the FDA here in the U.S. and to other agencies where required by law. These are just a few examples of what it means to be operating with the highest standards and highest levels of certification. This diligence and rigor instills pride, prestige and confidence among our employees, our Herbalife independent members and their customers, and to regulators around the world.
We’re also building a world-class global R&D team located in nine offices/labs around the world to bring unique products, flavors and local preferences to the market. These scientists specialize in product forms – e.g. dietary supplements, foods and acidified foods, as well as product delivery forms such as solid dose, powders, liquids and bars. We’ve developed unique capabilities and have invested in equipment and laboratories that are specialized for research and production pilot work. We have outfitted our R&D labs with miniature pieces of equipment that we utilize on the production floor. Our ability to use these in development work allows for better speed to market without disruption in the manufacturing process. We’ve also invested significantly in stability programs and stability chambers that provide us with confidence in the accuracy of our label claims and product shelf life. Strengthening these R&D capabilities gives us a true competitive advantage.
Complementing our R&D efforts and supporting our regulatory affairs team, are our scientific affairs employees. These scientists are specialists in vitamins, minerals and supplements; specialists in botanical science; specialists in macronutrients; and specialists in different delivery forms. And within our R&D function, we’ve implemented a strong sensory program to develop and improve the texture and flavor of our products. Additionally, we’ve invested in technology, an Oracle-based system known as Agile, to help us manage and monitor all elements of our global product development efforts. Lastly, we even introduced a new product development process to help streamline the decision-making and accelerate products’ time to market. All of these efforts and investment mean that every year we’re able to launch hundreds of new and or improved products.
Today, across all of our operations, we have more than 300 employees with science degrees and over 35 Ph.Ds. on staff. Pretty amazing to think about how far we’ve come!
Now that we’ve covered the “seed,” let’s move onto the “feed.” That’s getting the product to market. An important strategy for Herbalife is creating more access points and making it easier for members to run their businesses. We continue to roll out new formats of sales centers or pick up locations around the world. Whether it is the Herbalife® trucks in Mexico, automated sales kiosks in Russia, or state-of-the-art sales centers in other countries, increasing access points is key to supporting deeper sales penetration in existing markets. We continue to partner and invest in payment methods that make it easy for members and their customers to purchase Herbalife® products. We are always striving to upgrade and invest in access points. Our operations team is committed to supporting the daily consumption needs of our members and product demands of their customers.
Throughout the entire Seed to Feed process and with every product we make, we’re building a foundation for sustained excellence to ensure that we are the premier nutrition company now and in the years ahead. We’ve created an amazing company with a tremendous competitive advantage. We will continue to build it better every day. I am proud of this Company, and I have a tremendous sense of pride in our products and services.